Leading Practices Sessions

Our Leading Practices sessions feature practitioners and selected vendors sharing industry best practices and field-tested solutions for your most pressing challenges. Topics run the gamut: from recruiting through succession planning, from analysis of sales performance to creating a winning culture. But every workshop shares one thing: You’ll walk away with a practical technique or strategy that you can implement to improve your business.  

Sunday, March 16, 2014                           2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

 International Member Special Session:

Leaders Growing Leaders With Quincy Crawford


Quincy M. Crawford, CLU 


Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Ret.)

GAMA’s international members are in for a lively, informative experience: Industry oracle Quincy Crawford, author of the best-selling Master Firm Builders series book Leaders Growing Leaders, will lay out his approach to field leadership in financial services, including potential opportunities to embrace and land mines to avoid.

 LoTT Special Session
Breakthrough Leadership Making the Ideal Real


Janet Vandenbark 



Chuck Wachendorfer 



The foundation of improving one’s leadership effectiveness or influence begins with understanding oneself and increasing self-awareness. This program is designed to help leaders understand how their behavior is teaching and influencing all the time, as well as to help them clarify the ideal leader they’d like to become and how to begin closing that gap.

Sunday, March 16, 2014                           4:15 pm – 6:15 pm

 Women in Leadership Task Force Special Session
Creating a Better Business Model

Wanda Witherspoon, CLU (Moderator)

State Farm Insurance Companies


Aamir Chalisa, M.B.A., LUTCF

FUTURITY FIRST Insurance Group

Tara Showalter, J.D., CFP CRPC
Bio Here

Waddell & Reed

Emily Viner

Guardian Life Insurance Company of America

Come one, come all! In this special session, open to both men and women, we’ll discuss how strategies that address key challenges women face in the industry may help us build a better business model for all.

Monday, March 17, 2013                           1:30 pm – 2:30 pm

 Advisor 2020: The Forces and Opportunities Shaping the Financial Services Advisor of the Future

Peter Hoopis, CLU ChFC CLF 


MassMutual Financial Group

Enjoy a sneak preview of the newest research study from the GAMA Foundation for Education and Research. Advisor 2020 will inspire you to think differently about the advisory practice. Its findings will very likely disturb you, spark new ideas about your business model, inspire creative thinking about the work your advisors do and the value it provides, and cause you to reconsider where your advisors can best grow and excel in the coming years. Hear Peter talk about how his firm is incorporating the research findings of Advisor 2020 into its business model.


  • A sample of the major forecasts for advisors and their practices over the next seven years
  • A next-generation field leader’s  feedback on changes he has been making that incorporate the research findings
  • Recognition that many aspects of the future are foreseeable — and that real opportunities are developing in plain sight

 Building a “Growth” Mentality


Vince Evangelista, ACS AIAA ALHC FLMI 


Sun Life Canada

Move your agency from good to great by focusing on seven key factors that will boost its performance. By implementing these strategies, Vince has achieved such honors as Regional Office of the Year as well as recognition as a top 10 agency six years in a row. With the help of his results-driven management team, Vince created a vision-centered approach to planning that incorporates both strong leadership and management to ensure success.


  • Recruiting strategies to build a strong advisor and management team
  • Tips to keep managers accountable
  • Advisor-centered incentive programs and leadership tactics

 Caution: You Are in Your Own Way

Amy Salo, CFP


Guardian Life Insurance Company of America

The landscape of the financial services industry is changing — does your firm have the processes and tools to survive? Amy shares the three major challenges the industry is currently facing, along with the solutions she has developed to address them in her firm. Fine-tune your recruiting approach to connect with, inspire, motivate, and attract successful people to your organization while decreasing their launch time through a unique fellowship program.


  • A process to dramatically improve the quality of candidates in your pipeline
  • A framework for a fellowship program that drives early success and productivity
  • A system to design a culture for the future

 Driving Early Production and Retention Through Coaching Advisors

Gary L. Karthauser, CLU ChFC CLF 


The Principal Financial Group

Selecting and retaining the best advisors is job one for most field leaders. Discover how Gary’s focus on building relationships has led to 70 percent of his new hires coming from agent referrals and a 47 percent four-year retention rate. Through a strong focus on joint work and a rigorous launching process, Gary’s business center leads his company in new-producer productivity.  You will learn how to apply Gary’s principals in your firm to dramatically improve retention and productivity. 


  • Driving early production with new hires
  • Improving recruiting ratios by recruiting from within your organization
  • Identifying new-advisor roadblocks early, as well as options to address them

 How to Secure and Grow Centers of Influence and Alliances

Michael A. Yoken, CFP CMFC 

Bio here
Session Handout


New England Financial A MetLife Company

Cultivating mutually beneficial relationships with CPAs and property and casualty agencies will provide a stream of new, warm-source clients for your advisors. During his 24 years in the industry, Mike has honed his ability to secure alliances by focusing on the needs and motivations of his alliance partners. Mike shares his entire process, from identifying good partners and setting up a first meeting, to phrases, stories, and hot-button issues that will help you solidify the alliance.


  • Ways to market to potential alliance partners
  • Strategies to secure the relationship with the alliance partner
  •  Methods to separate yourself from others in the industry

 Leadership Lessons

 Michael Hargis, CLU ChFC CASL 


State Farm Insurance Companies

Harness the power of a passionate leadership mind-set to create a winning culture and produce outstanding results.  During his 34 years in the industry, Mike has honed his leadership skills and currently oversees 40 percent of his company’s Top 100 New Agents. Mike will reveal his key leadership strategies, including scripting center-of-influence discussions to help boost recruiting referrals, improving production results through diversity, and coaching to elevate performance. 


  • How to inspire your team to achieve
  • How to build successful recruiting pools
  • How to tap unlikely sources to increase production and meet your goals

 Leading Your Team to the Top of Their Game

 Kelli McCauley 


McCauley & Co.

 Russ Vandersteeg 



Session Handout

Achieve increased success by creating a common dream that inspires your entire firm. Kelli and Russ will share the VAE (vision, alignment, execution) model that engaged Russ’s leadership team in a mission to help their agents accomplish enviable productivity, averaging $210,000 GDC per experienced representative. Discover how to craft a shared vision for your firm, develop initiatives that align your team with the vision, and get your team to execute on the things that matter most. 


  • A powerful leadership model
  • Questions to assess yourself against the model
  • Ideas and actions to increase your effectiveness

Resource Partner Special Session:

 The Invisible Hand of Sales Management

 Matt Linklater 


The Sequoia System for Advisors

Learn effective methods and techniques for coaching top performers as well as best practices that leading advisors use to build their business. The Sequoia System for Advisors will run a unique and interactive session that illustrates how sales leaders can add value to their top-performing agents. Don’t miss this chance to hear ideas on how you can further develop your agents and their business.


  • Mapping effective relationships between sales and management
  • Learning successful coaching methods and techniques
  • Discovering best practices that top performers employ in their business


    Monday, March 17, 2014                           3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

     Dynamic Success Through Effective Mentorship

     David W. Pence, CLF LLIF LUTCF 


    COUNTRY Financial

    Groom your future leaders and improve new-advisor launch and retention by implementing a mentorship program within your organization. After using this program, David’s team moved from last in their region to first in just one year and is currently ranked among his company’s top agencies. David’s mentorship program is based on his experience in the Air Force and focuses on creating a sense of team unity that now permeates his culture. 


    • Characteristics to seek in mentors
    • Ways to leverage a mentorship program to improve your culture
    • Specifics on implementing this program, including innovative rewards for mentors

     Linking in for Recruiting and Referrals

     Georgette H. Geller, CLU ChFC 


    AXA Advisors

    Connect with well-educated, high-income individuals from the largest professional network, and fill your recruiting and referral funnels by unleashing the power of LinkedIn. Georgette provides the strategies she has used to grow her business through LinkedIn, as well as specific tips and tools that will ensure your success while protecting your network.  Georgette will also share best practices from social media experts to enhance your results.


    • Discovering who your connections should be and how many connections you should have
    • Creating a profile that attracts candidates and using LinkedIn to improve your response rates
    • Utilizing LinkedIn’s advanced features

     The Making of a Successful First-Year Financial Security Advisor

     Matthew Roemer


    Freedom 55 Financial

    Discover how implementing a streamlined process when hiring and onboarding new advisors can lead to reliably strong production and retention results. Matthew, who has been consistently recognized as a top recruiter within his organization, will share the tools and techniques he uses to ensure he selects the right candidate — the critical first step in producing a successful new advisor — as well as the processes he uses to launch and hold them accountable.


    • Identifying key traits and characteristics in recruits that indicate success
    • Asking three questions before hiring a new advisor
    • Implementing tools that will assist in launching and holding advisors accountable

     See Them Through the Fog: Helping the Next Generation

     Kenneth L. Gallacher, FSS


    American National Insurance Company

    Put an end to cold-source recruiting by developing a fun agency culture geared toward successfully launching new agents. Kenny will share the interviewing, onboarding, and accountability processes he uses to engage his new agents and set them on the path to long-term success. With a strong focus on organizational unity, Kenny’s new agents realize they can prevail in this often-challenging business.


    • Leveraging personal relationships to ensure young agents maintain a positive attitude
    • Creating a sense of ownership and personal accountability among new agents (especially Millennials)
    • Developing a sense of unity within your agency or firm

     Succession Planning: Are You Playing Offense or Defense?

     Daniel J. Flynn



    Turn one of the industry’s biggest challenges into a growth opportunity for your firm. Implementing advisor succession planning will provide service continuity for your advisors’ clients and protect their families and employees. Leveraging the power of teams, Daniel reveals how you can assist seasoned advisors in selecting a team to take over their practice, which will allow them to realize the full value of their practice and foster further growth for the business. 


    • Key questions to use in selecting successors
    • A conversational outline to use with seasoned advisors that allows them to see the value of their practice and the importance of a smooth transition for their clients
    • Compensation models that can be employed to meet advisor and successor needs

     Why Leveraging “Unique Ability” Matters

     Dawn Dellinger


    Guardian Life Insurance Company of America

    Keep your frontline managers focused on their strengths while improving your agency’s production, retention, and recruiting results by implementing a team-based structure with individual responsibilities for each manager. After shifting to this structure, Dawn and her team increased continuity for advisors and staff, improved job satisfaction for managers, and differentiated their organization from their competitors. This restructuring created deeper focus for each manager while fostering a greater sense of self-accountability.


    • Factors that should be consider before implementing a new team structure
    • Steps to creating a team-based structure with divided responsibilities
    • A self-assessment to gauge your current team’s strengths and ability to shift to a new structure

    Resource Partner Special Session:

     Marketing Magnetism: Attracting Your Best Clients Without Selling

     Maribeth Kuzmeski 


    Red Zone Marketing

    What's working right now to attract new clients and fans, expose your brand, get people talking, and differentiate yourself? Maribeth Kuzmeski will share powerful marketing, communications, and positioning strategies producing results for some of the nation’s top financial professionals — strategies that are mostly inexpensive, can be implemented immediately, and are done without typical selling strategies.


    • Specific messaging and a formula for positioning your value
    • Strategies for developing fans and advocates – not just satisfied clients
    • New, powerful questions to ask that produce big results


     Trustworthy Selling: Recapturing the Lost Art of Selling in Your Training and Development Programs

     Joey Davenport, CLU CLF CLTC


    Hoopis Performance Network

    This session will equip you with field-tested language and techniques used by top producers to help your advisors overcome procrastination and move prospects to action. Joey will also share language and tools to increase the quantity and quality of their referrals. He will discuss ways to create a sense of urgency and offer tactics proven to boost closing ratios by nearly 30 percent.


    • Offering recruiting candidates continuous learning (a Gen Next favorite)
    • The latest field-tested language, tools, and techniques for you to integrate into your training and development
    • The skills and language to help two- to five-year producers boost their premium per case through higher-quality referrals and more effective client questioning

    Tuesday, March 18, 2014                         1:30 pm – 2:30 pm

     Building a Culture of Accountability


     Samuel Terrazzino, CFP LUTCF


    New England Financial A MetLife Company

    Empower your advisors to thrive by developing a system of self-accountability. Over the past four years, Samuel has shifted the focus of his agency from transactional sales to a planning mentality that provides solutions for clients. In support of this cultural shift, Samuel created an infrastructure that sustains advisor activity and provides the benchmarks and tools to boost success, resulting in an annual growth rate of 17 percent. Improve your accountability structure with this step-by-step approach.


    • How to run a Monday agency meeting that informs, focuses, and energizes your entire agency
    • Best practices to assist advisors in creating a smart office business rhythm that lets them plan for a perfect week
    • Steps to running agent-development meetings using actual cases

     Building a Trusted Advisor Culture: Helping Agents Apply Behavioral Economics for a Value-Driven Sale

     Danny Negin


    Farm Bureau Insurance of Michigan

     Joseph Solitro, LLIF LUTCF


    Farm Bureau Insurance of Michigan

    Session Handout

    As experts in their field, your advisors are responsible for the financial well-being of their clients. But all too often, a client’s focus on price can waylay an advisor’s efforts to provide complete financial protection. Danny and Joe have implemented a holistic approach, with their advisors relying on the principles of behavioral economics to ensure that their clients’ entire net worth is properly protected. This focused approach to advising has boosted both their advisor and client retention rates to new heights. 


    • How to build a culture focused on the trusted advisor model
    • How to retain the best advisors and the right clients
    • How to use the asset profile and the financial pyramid tools to illustrate net worth
    • How to build in the “Behavioral Belief System “ necessary in today’s society

     The Power of Who

     J. Christopher Noonan, CLU ChFC


    AXA Advisors

    Apply Bob Beaudine’s The Power of Who to your agency to bolster your warm-source recruiting and eliminate the need for networking. By cultivating relationships with the 100 people who are most important to him and capitalizing on their innate desire for him to succeed, Chris sparked a new recruiting approach within his firm that doubled his warm-source candidate pool. Discover how the amazing people you already know are the key to achieving your goals. 


    • The steps to define your “who” group based on what you are trying to achieve
    • Threads of discontent and hot-button issues to address with new recruits
    • Active recruiting programs and tools to improve your candidate pool

     Sourcing and Attracting the Right Candidate

     Pete Gillespie, M.B.A.


    Freedom 55 Financial

    Reignite your passion for recruiting through consistent processes that get results. Pete’s strict adherence to his recruiting philosophy of “Hire slow, fire slow” has created a foundation for his young advisors to succeed and brought him a 41 percent four-year retention rate. His approach encourages agency loyalty while providing succession-planning opportunities for senior advisors. In sharing field-proven tactics and strategies, this session should help you invigorate your recruiting approach and boost your retention rate.


    • A consistent recruiting process that increases competence and confidence
    • Techniques to personalize your recruiting approach for maximum referrals
    • A step-by-step selection process that thoroughly evaluates candidate fit

     The Three C’s of Coaching: Commitment, Clarity, and Collaboration

     Marcia Charton

    Session Handout


    State Farm Insurance Companies

    Use the three-C’s-of-coaching framework — commitment, clarity, and collaboration — to develop specific strategies that will elevate top producers and reinvigorate veterans. By creating a shared vision with her producers and clearly delineating each individual’s responsibilities for achieving that vision, Marcia creates connections that enhance overall team performance. Through this focused approach, Marcia has tailored solutions for her producers, leading her financial services group to be ranked fourth nationally for State Farm.


    • Improving production results with your producers
    • Shifting your role from cheerleader to coach by using effective coaching language
    • Conducting a time audit to ensure producers stay focused on the most important activities

    Resource Partner Special Session:

     Unlocking Your Advisors’ Potential: You Can’t Teach People to Sell By Teaching People to Sell

     Mike Esterday


    Integrity Solutions

    Why do so many advisors fail? Why do talented, intelligent advisors with outstanding products and excellent training plateau well beneath their potential? Up to 85 percent of success involves feelings, attitudes, emotions, and beliefs. This session will share ways to impact both the behaviors and attitudes that lead to higher levels of productivity.


    • Understand and address five critical dimensions of sales success that are often overlooked
    • Training principles that impact the emotional issues of selling
    • Coaching ideas to help advisors break loose from plateaus

    Building Your Mission-Driven Firm

     Steve D’Annunzio


    Soul Purpose Institute

    Join Steve in this interactive workshop to learn and understand the four transformational stages of mission-driven firms. Steve will lead an exercise completing Stage One so you leave with a pragmatic foundation to reboot to a new level of production in your firm.


    • Discovering the hidden issue that insidiously undermines recruiting and production
    • Interacting with other highly successful people to co-create your own Belief Manifesto, tailored to your company
    • Leaving with a clear track to run on for immediate, no-nonsense implementation

    Tuesday, March 18, 2014                         1:30 pm – 2:50 pm

    Multiline Special Session

     Multiline 2020: Agency of the Future

     Keith Ryniak, CLFi

    American Family Insurance

     Jim Horan

    The One Page Business Plan Company


     Clovis Guevara


    State Farm Insurance Companies

     Mark Miletello

    America National Insurance Company

     Greg Smith

    Farm Bureau Insurance of Michigan

     Bob Toney

    American Family Insurance

    Session Handout

    The multiline industry continues to change not at an evolutionary pace — but at disruptive rate.  This highly interactive session will focus on the underlying causes of these significant changes and explore strategic solutions trailblazing field leaders are currently experimenting with. It is designed to provide a forum for multiline field leaders to interact and discuss future trends, including  important findings in Firm 2020, a recent study from the GAMA Foundation Education and Research.


    • Understand root causes of industry changes and potential solutions to deal with them.
    • Learn which groundbreaking solutions are working, which are not — and why!
    • Walk away with simple, creative assessment and planning tools to facilitate strategic thinking.

    Tuesday, March 18, 2014                         3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

    LoTT Special Session

     The Dawn of the Superhuman Advisor: A Panel Discussion on How Social Media Can Help Build Teams and Generate Business 

     Clara Shih (moderator)


    Hearsay Social

    A panel of distribution leaders from top firms will discuss their experience with social business, sharing qualitative insights and concrete actions every leader should be taking to get from “likes” to generating business on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other popular social media sites. The session will include a discussion on social media for recruiting and coaching advisors on best practices. Participants in this workshop will walk away with a blueprint for leading their organizations to success in the social media era. 

    GAMA Women in Leadership Task Force Special Session

     Discovering Women's Paths to Success

     Kristen Alfheim, CLTC CSA(Moderator)


    FUTURITY FIRST Insurance Group


     Maryam Habashi

    Bankers Life and Casualty Company

     Maribeth Kuzmeski, M.B.A.


    Red Zone Marketing

     Christina Pretto


    AIG Financial Network

    Are women from Venus when it comes to finding success? Join us in this dynamic workshop to hear and share new ideas with other industry leaders on how to maximize success for the female producers in your agency.

    Continuing Education

    LAMP attendance and participation qualifies for up to 20 hours of PACE credit to maintain designations awarded by the American College. Information on obtaining PACE credit will be available at the GAMA Galleria in the Resource Center at LAMP and on your LAMP app.

      Business Strategy & Growth 
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      Leadership Teams   Recruiting & Selection 
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      Leaders of Today and Tomorrow   Retention
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      Frontline Leader Development
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      Performance Coaching & Mentoring
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      Sales & Marketing
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      Leadership & Culture
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      Producer Development
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      Supervision & Accountability
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